Top 10 Free Events in London in January 2017 - Broke in London

Top 10 Free Events in London in January 2017

A list to banish the January blues…

by Jen (follow Jen on Twitter: @JenBarnes207)

I have a confession to make: I’ve actually spent the past 3 months living down under having a second summer. That being said, I’ve missed London like crazy and I’m even excited about the cold. SO – I’m going to inject some of my renewed enthusiasm for London into these suggestions to help you all get over the January blues. There’s some free booze for those of you not taking part in dry January and a few celebrity tribute events and exhibitions as well. As always, if nothing on my list tickles your fancy, some of my fellow BrokeinLondoners have some more ideas for you in the Free Entertainment in London section.

#1 | Winter Lights | 16th – 27th January 

Free things to do in January

Winter Lights ©

Yes, it’s cold, and yes, Christmas is over – but that doesn’t mean that you can’t enjoy the Canary Wharf Winter Lights Festival now that the fairy lights are packed away. For two weeks you can see a bunch of light installations from international artists. If you head down between 19-21 Jan there’s a live light graffiti installation that you won’t want to miss.

When: 16th– 27th January 2017.
Where: Canary Wharf, London E14.

#2 | Nordic Matters | All Month

Free things to do in January

Hygge ©

You’ve probably heard all about Hygge by now, but how much do you really know about Nordic culture? For all of 2017 the Southbank Centre is presenting the Nordic Matters Festival to explore Nordic art & culture. Some free highlights include (but check the events page for more):

  • Ice, Forest & the Future: A talk looking at the effects of our current lifestyle on the environment on 14th Jan at 2pm.
  • Nordic Film & Video: Recent work by visual artists: special screenings on 13th Jan at 4pm and 14th Jan at 11am.

When: Events all month long.
Where: Southbank Centre, Belvedere Rd, Lambeth, London SE1 8XX.

#3 | House of Vans : Girls Skate Night | 26th January

Free things to do in January

Girls Skate Night at the House of Vans ©

If you skate, know someone who skates, used to skate, or even if you just like yoga and free cocktails (no – I’m not playing a joke on you) then head down to the House of Vans London for their Girls Skate Night. It’s skating from 6-7pm, yoga from 7-8pm and free cocktails all night long. Even if you’ve never been on a skateboard in your life, sounds like a good excuse to borrow one and give it a shot if you ask me (which you did, because you’re reading this post)! It’s free but you do have to RSVP!

When: 26th January, 6pm – 10pm.
Where: Arches, 228-232 Station Approach Rd, Lambeth, London SE1 8SW.

#4 | Chinese New Year | 29th January

Free things to do in January

Chinese New Year ©VisitLondon

London has pretty spectacular Chinese New Year celebrations all across the West End and Chinatown. There’s a colourful parade in the morning, performances in Trafalgar Square all afternoon and the day ends with fireworks and a show. It’s the Year of the Rooster this year so for those of you roosters out there it’s bound to be the start of a great year!

When: 29th January, parade starts at 10am.
Where: Trafalgar Square (also the parade start point).

#5 | Fourth Plinth Shortlist Exhibition | From 19th January

Free things to do in January

The Plinth in Trafalgar Square ©Plinth

What do you think about the giant thumbs up that now occupies Trafalgar Square’s Fourth Plinth? What about the giant blue cock? If you loved em or even if you hated em – you could have shared your thoughts on them at the annual exhibition. Check out all the proposals for next year’s sculpture at the Fourth Plinth Shortlist Exhibition and let the decision makers know what you think!

When: From 19th January, 10am-6pm; Fridays 10am – 9pm.
Where: National Gallery, Trafalgar Square, London WC2N 5DN.

#6 | Landscape Photographer of the Year | All Month

Things to do this bank holiday weekend

Brighton Pavilion Light Show ©

If you’re anything like me, then you are already planning for your 2017 holidays in places you can actually afford – what better place to find inspiration than the Landscape Photographer of the Year Exhibition. There are gorgeous photos from across the UK that are bound to inspire and surprise you. Why travel abroad when there’s so much beauty to be found on this little island.

When: All month.
Where: Mezzanine at Waterloo Station, Waterloo Rd, Lambeth, London SE1 8SW.

#7 | Club Tropicana: Celebrating George Michael | 12th January

Free things to do this January

Club Tropicana tribute party ©The Glory

There’s no doubt that 2016 was a tough year in terms of celebrity loss so dance away your tears at Club Tropicana: Celebrating George Michael at East London pub The Glory. Entry is free but you should probably get there in good time to make sure you get in (doors open at 5pm). If you love fancy dress there’s prizes to be won for the best George-esque beard, designer stubble and the next ‘Pepsi and Shirley’.

When: 12th January, 5pm – 1am.
Where: The Glory, 281 Kingsland Rd, London E2 8AS.

#8 | Always Look on the Bright Side of Life | Until 14th January

Top things to do this weekend

Gods Own Junkyard ©

If you have never been to God’s Own Junkyard (like me – it’s on the list I swear!) then you can see some of the neon works by the late Chris Bracey at Soho Lights until the 14th Jan. The exhibition, aptly named Always Look on the Bright Side of Life, is the perfect antidote to a slightly depressing 2016.

When: Non-members: Until 14th January; Monday – Saturday, 10am – 6pm.
Where: Lights of Soho, 35 Brewer St, Soho, London W1F 0RX.

#9 | An Evening with Rita Ray and the Sounds of Bamako | 11th January

Free things to do in January

An evening with Rita Ray ©Somerset House

To accompany the free exhibition Malick Sidibe: The Eye of Modern Mali, there’s an evening of music of talk with Rita Ray, the DJ, presenter and African music expert who created the soundscape you hear in the exhibition. Learn about the tracks that resonate with her and about the stories behind the photographs in this mid-week event.

When: 11th January, 7pm -8pm.
Where: Somerset House, Strand, London WC2R 1LA.

#10 | Bowie by Duffy  | All Month

Free things to do in January

David Bowie exhibition ©

If you’re still mourning the loss of David Bowie, get to Proud Chelsea to see Bowie by Duffy, an exhibition of photographs of the star taken by Brian Duffy between 1972 and 1980. As Proud says, these photographs are a  “compilation which embody the artistic eye of the photographer and Bowie’s unique innovation and influence”.

When: All month, Daily 10am – 7pm.
Where: Proud Chelsea, 161 Kings Rd, London SW3 5XP.